Christian Science: The Science and Art of Spiritual Living
The Hon. William E. Brown, C.S.B., of Los Angles, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Honorable William E. Brown, C.S.B., of Los Angeles, California, a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled "Christian Science: The Science and Art of Spiritual Living," last evening, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in the church edifice, Falmouth, Norway and St. Paul Streets.
The lecturer was introduced by Lucia C. Coulson, C.S.B., Second Reader in The Mother Church, who said:
It is a great pleasure to welcome you on behalf of The Mother Church to a lecture on Christian Science which is to be given by a member of the Board of Lectureship of this church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
There is a current belief among many people that worldliness and the things of this world are attractive and that spirituality and the things of Spirit are dull and difficult; yet the whole of history contradicts this. When the Nazarene, learned in the things of Spirit, spoke, "they trode one upon another" to hear him. Ernest seekers for Truth's healing power took off the roof on one occasion to find access to him, and others went for days without food until they were faint with hunger that they might not miss his words. Later, when the fire of spiritual inspiration lit the consciousness of Peter and the other disciples, a multitude came together to listen and we are told that 3000 souls were added to the church in that one day. So it has been down through the ages whenever a spiritual seer has arisen.
When in the nineteenth century a woman, distinguished for her deep and arresting spirituality, preached in this city, speaking of those things that had been revealed to her of God, hundreds were unable to gain admission. That woman was Mary Baker Eddy, and her experience shows, as does that of the others I have quoted, that spirituality is irresistibly attractive. It is that quality which constitutes the attraction of the message of Christian Science. Its method of healing is wholly spiritual, and only as it reveals to us the things of Spirit does it fulfill its mission.
The title of our lecture this evening is "Christian Science: The Science and Art of Spiritual Living" and I am sure that as we listen to it, the realities of being will grow clearer to our vision, which involves the lightening of every burden and the dawning of complete satisfaction. It now gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the Hon. William E. Brown, of Los Angeles, California.
Mr. Brown spoke substantially as follows:
A celebrated painter who was discussing and analyzing many phases of art finally exclaimed, "After all is said and done, the highest art is the art of living." How true is this! and how well it comprehends the art of Christian Science ‒ the art of spiritual living.
In the Century Dictionary art is defined as "The employment of given means to effect a purpose," and again, "The more complete the scientific basis of an art the more perfect the art."
In Christian Science we have presented to us a perfect Science; hence we have perfect art. Of this, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 507), "This divine Principle of all expresses Science and art throughout His creation"; and again (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 375), "The truest art of Christian Science is to be a Christian Scientist; and it demands more than a Raphael to delineate this art."
It may be said that all human activity has for its final goal improved living. Even the criminal mistakenly believes that his unlawful acts will bring him happiness and satisfaction. But as one surveys the experience of mortals since the dawn of history, one realizes that all material plans, whether individual or collective, have failed in their purpose to confer lasting happiness upon mankind. The reason for such failure is because these plans have not been based upon true Science or true art.
The major reason for the failure of mortal plans is ignorance of the nature of God and man. Because of this ignorance these plans are not formulated upon the recognition that the art of living is an individual matter instead of a collective endeavor. This vital truth is well illustrated in the reply of a well-known clergyman, who, with a number of others, was asked the question, "If Jesus were with us today, what remedy would he offer for our present-day problems?" The clergyman referred to said, in substance, "It would be difficult to say just what the Master would offer; but of this we may be sure, his remedy would not be political in its nature, because he always dealt directly with the individual."
A careful study of the teachings of Jesus shows that he taught the fundamental truths of being and showed that they must be practiced, applied, and lived by the individual. Christian Science is in line with the Master's teaching in revealing the truths of being and in showing that these must be demonstrated by the individual. I desire that you clearly recognize this foundation stone of Christian Science, as it will enable you to understand the wonderful demonstrations which frequently rescue individuals when the consensus of human opinion has indicated no way of escape. You will recall the demonstration made by the Hebrew captives in the fiery furnace! So complete was their trust in God that they were protected from the flames and, as it is related of them, "The princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them."
At this juncture there is indicated one of the chief differences between the teaching of Christian Science and that of scholastic theology. The latter, failing to understand, the real import of the apostles' admonition to "work out your own salvation," believes that salvation is vicarious, dependent upon the sacrifice of another, that is, of Christ Jesus, ‒ upon the literal shedding of blood. This reminds me of a religious controversy in which the following question was asked, "Do you think that God, whom the Bible describes as Love, after creating man in His own image and likeness proceeded to bestow upon him an inclination to sin, surrounding him with hypnotizing temptations, and so arranged cause and effect that when he obeyed his God-given inclination to sin he was to be punished by disease and death?" The speaker continued by asking another question: "And do you realize that this is, in substance, the foundation of many of the religious beliefs of mankind?"
Perhaps some may attempt to show that the ability to sin did not come from God, but if we believe that sin is a reality and that God is the only cause and creator, He must be the author of all that really exists. Here we have a problem, namely, to account for the existence of evil or matter in the face of the spiritual fact of an omnipresent God or infinite Spirit. Broadly speaking, mankind has constructed many theories in the attempt to explain this inconsistent and illogical situation. In writing of these theories Mrs. Eddy states (Science and Health, p. 119): "They either presuppose the self-evolution and self-government of matter, or else they assume that matter is the product of Spirit. To seize the first horn of this dilemma and consider matter as a power in and of itself, is to leave the creator out of His own universe; while to grasp the other horn of the dilemma and regard God as the creator of matter, is not only to make Him responsible for all disasters, physical and moral, but to announce Him as their source, thereby making Him guilty of maintaining perpetual misrule in the form and under the name of natural law."
Revelation, reason, and logic establish the fact that there could not be two opposing basic powers in the universe, and they also testify to the spiritual fact that there is but one primal cause ‒ divine Principle, God, from whom all things proceed. Reason and logic also testify to the fact that such Principle, to be infinite and eternal, must be harmonious. It is self-evident that discordant things are self-destructive, hence not eternal.
When it is clearly seen that there is but one primal, eternal, harmonious cause, the conclusion is inevitable, namely, that all which proceeds from this one primal cause must be like its cause, eternal and harmonious. So here we have our true Science of being which, in the language of Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 290), is "the everlasting I am, the Being who was and is and shall be, whom nothing can erase."
This discovery of the truth of being constitutes the fundamental discovery of Mary Baker Eddy, and distinguishes her from all other religious teachers except Christ Jesus. Mrs. Eddy's discovery of the facts that God is infinite Mind, and that the universe as an expression of this Mind is forever harmonious, is, of course, wholly at variance with the false testimony of the material senses. After her discovery she immediately began the herculean task of making simple and practicable this revelation, so that mortals could utilize her discovery in destroying the discordant testimony of the material senses. Her method has made possible the practice of Christian Science, the living of its revealed truths; in other words, the art of spiritual living.
The student of Christian Science, being equipped with an understanding of the only true Science, proceeds to demonstrate, or prove, this Science; this he does by displacing the discordant beliefs of the senses with the spiritual facts of being. The work is purely individual, and the realization of this brings great comfort and blessings to mortals. Through the teaching of Christian Science an individual realizes that, like the high priest of old, he is free to enter the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary, where the spiritual facts of being are discerned in their fullness. It matters not what the nature of the problem is which may confront an individual ‒ whether it be personal, local, national or international, physical, mental, moral, or financial; the remedy is always the same, and the ability and privilege to solve such problems exist here and now. Of this practice, or art of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy writes (Pulpit and Press, p. 4), "You have simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with your divine source, and daily demonstrate this. Then you will find that one is as important a factor as duodecillions in being and doing right, and thus demonstrating deific Principle." Then will follow the results of the divine activity so beautifully described in one of our Leader's poems (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 393),
"Art and Science, all unweary,
Lighting up this mortal dream."
The individual demonstration, stressed by Christian Science, not only leaves one free to begin his demonstration whenever he so desires, but also frees him from the blighting sense of discouragement, both from his own and from what may be termed general human belief. In other words, one does not have to wait for mass conditions to improve nor a final day of judgment. He realizes as he demonstrates the propositions of Christian Science that "one with God is a majority." By this method not only are the individual's conditions improved, but world conditions as well. Every time a truth is declared and every time some mortal discord is overcome through the realization of truth the general human consciousness is, in that measure, being improved and purified. Indeed it is only by such method that world salvation is to be effected. It is manifest that since nations are but aggregations of individuals, in the degree the individual is redeemed nations are redeemed. It is evident that when individuals refuse to quarrel there can be no national quarreling.
When it is realized that world salvation waits upon individual salvation the importance of the Christian Science teaching is recognized. A slow way, ‒ some may say, ‒ and this is relatively so; yet when one considers it is the only way, it gives one a feeling of gratitude that even this seemingly slow way has been discovered and given to the world by Christian Science.
When one looks out over world conditions as they exist today, obviously individual delinquencies, many times multiplied, are primarily the cause of present-day troubles. In speaking of the ever-increasing mass of legislative enactments designed to establish normal harmonious relations, and their failure to accomplish the desired result, someone has said: "We have tried many kinds of rules without success. Suppose we try the Golden Rule." Again, when someone was asked the question, "Do you think that Christianity has proved a failure?" the answer came, "No one knows; it has never been tried." But, thank God, with the discovery of Christian Science it is being and has been tried for over half a century with results which prove that it has reinstated primitive Christianity, with its healing and regenerating works.
Through spiritual understanding of the truth underlying the declaration that "one with God is a majority," individuals have been enabled to solve problems which, to the senses, seem unsolvable. The Bible contains many such instances: the Shunammite woman, when death seemed to claim her child, with sublime faith turned to the man of God for help, and was enabled, with spiritually inspired calmness, to answer Gehazi, servant of the prophet, "It is well with the child." This state of receptivity, together with the spiritual confidence of the prophet, resulted in the restoration of the child.
A most helpful, encouraging, and portentous event is the demonstration of Enoch in overcoming death. The complete story of cause and effect is graphically set forth in Hebrews (11:5): "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Please note that this translation was the reward of faith. This word "faith," in its highest signification, is indicated in Hebrews (11:1): "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," and is even more graphically set forth in the Twentieth Century New Testament as follows: "Faith is the realization of things hoped for ‒ the proof of things not seen."
I want to call your special attention to the reason given by Paul for Enoch's translation, "For before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." It is recorded that Enoch was 365 years old at the time of translation; so the belief of old age did not interfere with his demonstration.
Instances of the healing and redeeming power of Spirit abound in the Bible, but the ones just cited are sufficient to illustrate the vital truth I desire to impress upon you; namely, that it is possible for an individual possessed of spiritual understanding to triumph over all mortal discord, including death, that such triumph may occur at any time or place and under any and all conditions. Of this, Paul writes, "Now is the day of salvation." This method of solving human problems is not new. It is as ancient as the "Ancient of days," and was available to mortals long before the advent of Christ Jesus. It has well been said that Christianity, although established by Jesus, is not true because Jesus taught it, but rather that he taught it because it is true.
In contemplating the demonstrations made possible through an understanding of Christian Science, the student will do well to bear in mind that two things are imperatively required. He must understand both the Science and art of Christian Science; that is, he must acquire a spiritual understanding of the Science of being and then master the art of bringing into human experience the spiritual qualities inherent in this being. In other words, he must acquire both the spirit and the letter.
Delayed demonstrations may be caused by trying to solve human problems through an intellectual perception of Christian Science in place of a rounded sense of demonstration, which always includes spiritual thinking and living. Of this our Leader writes (Science and Health, p. 4): "The longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness. We reach the Science of Christianity through demonstration of the divine nature." Let me repeat the last sentence, for it is a vital point in expressing the art of Christian Science: "We reach the Science of Christianity through demonstration of the divine nature."
It is important to bear in mind at all times that Mrs. Eddy discovered the Science of Christianity through a spiritual understanding of the Scriptures, and he who would gain a demonstrable knowledge of this Science must acquire the same spiritual understanding of Scriptural teaching. As one acquires the ability to interpret the Scriptures spiritually, one is increasingly convinced of, and constantly marvels at, the harmony and consistency of Scriptural teaching, as uncovered by Mrs. Eddy's discovery. Here it will be helpful to know that the original Scriptures were written without punctuation or versification, and that when translators and various writers began to punctuate and formulate verses, incorrect use of these frequently obscured the spiritual meaning. To illustrate: take the story of the man born blind, whom Jesus healed. From the punctuated reading as given in John 9:3, 4, the inference might be gained that the man was born blind in order that Jesus might have an opportunity of healing him; which view is of course absolutely contrary to the fact recorded in Genesis 1:31, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." However, through an illumination of the spiritual facts revealed in the Bible, which Christian Science brings, it is recognized that the man was not born blind in order that the works of God should be manifest in him, but that Jesus was about to heal him, and in this healing would be manifested the works of God. Again, take the familiar Scriptural declaration given in Matthew 7:14: "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." From this reading it might be inferred that all were not to find the way of life; but the Rotherham translation puts an entirely different construction on this verse, where he says, "And few there be who are finding it." In other words, mortals were finding the "strait gate" slowly.
In this connection, I recall the experience of a patient who had turned to Christian Science for help. Among his troubles was a belief that he was spiritually lost. Through a misconception of the verse just quoted in regard to ''few there be" who find the way of life, he had become obsessed with the idea that in some way he had neglected his opportunity and therefore had lost salvation. The Christian Science practitioner, to whom he appealed for help, immediately freed him from his obsession by giving him a scientific understanding of the Scriptures as follows. Said the practitioner: "You are familiar with the saying of the Master as to eternal life, 'And this is life eternal, that they might know thee'? From this it is clear that eternal life is embodied in a knowledge of God. Therefore the all-important question is, Who is to know God? The answer is to be found in Jeremiah 31:34, 'For they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest.' So this disposes of your entire trouble. Here is the definite promise that all are to know God, and since such knowledge means eternal life, then all are finally to express this life."
These illustrations serve to show the importance of understanding the Scriptures in their spiritual sense, and this understanding is one of the great blessings which Christian Science bestows upon a race in bondage to false theology.
The questions which have arisen in the human mind concerning man ‒ as to who he is, what he is, whence his origin, whence his destination, and why he exists, have puzzled the most profound thinkers of the ages. It remained for Mary Baker Eddy to give the world satisfying answers to all queries of this nature. As a basic statement, Christian Science declares that man made in the image and likeness of God is spiritual, not material; individual, but not personal. The analysis of the word "person" as applied to human beings is illuminating and helpful. The word comes originally from the Latin "persona," meaning "a mask," and is defined thus: "A 'person' is one who impersonates a character." The word "mask" exactly conveys the point I desire to make clear to you. Mortal personality is the mask hiding the true individuality of man. Soon after I perceived this interesting fact, I had occasion to observe a group of people assembled from various walks of life. The thought of masks recurred to me, and I realized that the various phases of mortality presented were but masks. There was a mask of youth, of middle age, of decrepitude, of sadness, illness, and worry. It was very helpful to know that the masks confronting me were but the seeming externalization of the various states of consciousness of those wearing them; that these masks could be changed as the wearers manifested changes in consciousness when purified and rectified by Christian Science teaching.
This process is clearly outlined by Mrs. Eddy, who writes (Science and Health, p. 248), "Immortal Mind feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness, supplying it with beautiful images of thought and destroying the woes of sense which each day brings to a nearer tomb." The real man, then, is the expression of the divine character, and his reason for existing is to express God. As to his origin, Christian Science teaches us that he coexists with God, dwelling forever an idea in infinite Mind, without beginning or end. The highest goal of human endeavor is to acquire an understanding of spiritual existence, or, as Paul puts it, "Then shall I know even as also I am known"; in other words, as God knows me.
Christian Science Practice
At this point I am reminded of a colloquy between a Christian Science practitioner and his patient to whom he had been explaining the importance of gaining spiritual vision. After admitting the logic of the situation the patient exclaimed, "But how can I gain spiritual vision?" The practitioner replied, "By acquiring the mind of Christ." "Why" said the patient, "is this necessary?" "Because," said the practitioner, "the mind of Christ is the only mind that can perceive the universe of Spirit." This fact is clearly brought out in the Scriptural reference which reads, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." To this the patient replied, "This reasoning seems clear and rational, but how can one acquire the 'mind of Christ'?" The practitioner said: "The process is simple, but requires constant alertness in gaining an understanding of the truth, and, stated negatively, consists mainly in standing porter at the door of thought and refusing to entertain or express any and every thought which is opposed to the mind of Christ."
Before the discovery of Christian Science, the ability to refuse to entertain or express any thought which is opposed to the mind of Christ, and the benefits flowing from such activity, were not known or understood. All were constantly urged by ethical teachers to seek the good and shun the evil, and mortals were urged to depart from evil because it would please God. It remained for Christian Science to point out the real benefit accruing from such mental discipline. Christian Science points out that the real reward or gain arising from refusing to accept, entertain, or express error is, that by such refusal the vision is clarified and the day hastened when all shall be able to see the universe as God sees it; in other words, the gaining of spiritual vision.
It is apparent to all who have given the matter sufficient consideration that what we term our environment or experience in life is a matter of consciousness; or in other words, one's environment is only the expression or external objectification of one's thinking, and consequently can be changed only by a change in thinking. Paul summed up the entire matter by declaring that to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Since in one's present environment there occur the experiences termed sin, poverty, unhappiness, disease, old age, and death, it is evident that their supposed necessity or possibility must have existed first in consciousness before they could be expressed in environment or experience. This simple analysis immediately suggests the remedy; that is, permanently to expel these so-called activities from consciousness, to the end that they may be forever expelled from one's environment.
Unreality of Evil
Mrs. Eddy, following the teachings of Jesus, taught and proved the unreality of evil. Moreover, Mrs. Eddy's teaching is wholly consistent with its divine Principle, God. Accepting in its fullness the allness of God, she remained loyal and consistent throughout in her reasoning and deductions. When confronted with the seeming claim of evil, she did not attempt to account for its so-called existence by calling evil "good in the making" or stating that there might exist some reason unknowable to mortals. She instantly knew its unreality; in other words, she agreed with the adversary quickly; that is, she instantly recognized the unreality of its claim and promptly dismissed it as unreal.
What a godsend to mankind ‒ the ability to know the nothingness of evil and its manifestations and thus to free the victim of the material senses. What a relief to know that we may be forever excused from indulging in criticism, faultfinding, and condemnation! Think of the joy and privilege that is ours to endeavor constantly to see our fellow men as God sees them!
Let me show you how very practical this line of procedure is. A number of years ago, during one of my early visits to a practitioner, she said very many helpful things to me and among them was this: "To love, is the fulfilling of the law." This immediately arrested my attention and I said to her: "Well, that must be a very important thing. Anything which can fulfill the law must be very well worth knowing. I wish you would please tell me what it means in Christian Science ‒ 'to love.' " I never forgot her reply, as it has enabled me to solve many perplexing problems and it will aid you likewise. She said, "To love, means that you must constantly know the truth about God and your relation to Him and the same thing about every other living creature." At that time I was in a commercial business, employing a number of men, and one of them, a traveling salesman, did not seem to be very efficient. He made a number of mistakes and it cost me considerable money. I did not want to discharge this man, for he too was a student of Christian Science; nevertheless, I chafed under this situation and frequently asked the question, "Why is it necessary for me to be encumbered with this incompetent man?" Suddenly, one morning, recalling the words of the practitioner, I realized that I was not using Christian Science to solve this problem. I was constantly thinking of him as incompetent, stupid, inefficient. I might just as well have said that he had the smallpox, measles and hives. And so I began to reverse my thought processes and declare that because man is the image and likeness of God, expressing infinite wisdom and intelligence, he must necessarily be competent and efficient in the highest degree; moreover, I declared that because the universe is an orderly universe, every idea must be in its proper place all the time, forever doing what it ought to do and doing it well and expressing infinite abundance. In a few days this man came to me of his own volition and said: "I have just been offered a position in my own calling with which I am familiar and I think I would do better there. If you have no objections, and it will not inconvenience you, I would like to leave you on the first of the month." That is the way that a Christian Science demonstration always works; it blesses all concerned.
My friends, I want to impress upon you the fact that there is nothing sweeter in life than to go through the day endeavoring to see our neighbors and friends as God sees them. It removes criticism, condemnation, self-righteousness and indeed makes life well worth living.
Mrs. Eddy has said that "the starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle" (Science and Health, p. 275). This premise is demonstrably true, and is proved by every healing in Christian Science. But it will be necessary to concede this premise in order to have opportunity to prove its correctness. It will be comparatively simple and easy to make the concession at this hour, for the teaching of leading natural scientists is now agreeing with Mrs. Eddy that the universe is mental; that is, the natural scientists have discarded the old theories that the universe is material or that it is part mind, part matter. Many of these authorities might be quoted; one I think will be sufficient. Sir James Jeans writes in his latest book, "The Background of Science," thus: "Our last impression of nature, before we began to take our human spectacles off, was an ocean of mechanism surrounding us on all sides. As we gradually discard our spectacles, we see mechanical concepts continually giving place to mental. If from the nature of things we can never discard them entirely, we may yet conjecture that the effect of doing so would be the total disappearance of matter and mechanism, mind reigning supreme and alone." It will be observed that these conclusions of the natural scientists mean nothing to Christian Scientists, because the natural scientist has not yet perceived that Mind is One ‒ God. The natural scientist is only beginning to perceive dimly some of the primary truths which Mrs. Eddy has perceived in their entirety.
In connection with the conclusions of Sir James Jeans, it is interesting to note that in 1631 a Bohemian, named Komensky, in a work called "The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart" tells of a pilgrim visiting the City of Vanity who came across a guide called Falsehood; this guide fitted the pilgrim with falsifying glasses fashioned out of the glass of illusion with rims of horn, named custom. But when, later, he was fitted with glasses furnished by the divine Spirit, he saw things as they really were, not as the glasses of illusion had made him seem to see.
It will be observed that while these writers, centuries apart, are in agreement as to the falsity of the testimony of the senses, they do not provide a way of gaining the spiritual facts concerning which the senses are falsely testifying.
Mrs. Eddy deals with this subject, and in her clear, forceful, and direct manner shows us the way of escape (Science and Health, p. 264): "As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible. . . . When we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man's spiritual being, we shall behold and understand God's creation, ‒ all the glories of earth and heaven and man."
In speaking of the blessings which flow to one who is sufficiently spiritual to receive this interpretation, the book of Job declares: "If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: . . . His flesh shall be fresher than a child's; he shall return to the days of his youth." The fullness of this wonderful promise can be gained only through Christian Science. The phrase "to shew unto man his uprightness" clearly establishes the great fact that man is upright now and that since this is true, he has always been upright. This divine fact can only be discerned through spiritual vision, and it is the mission of Christian Science to give us this interpretation.
Before the advent of Christian Science, mortals, buffeted by sin and disease through a few weary years, frequently looked upon death as a way of escape, but now, through the teaching of this Science, they are given the ability to master sin and disease, and to realize that death is not a friend, but an enemy. Do not be trapped into speculating about or contemplating the mortal mind activity called death and the supposititious planes of existence. There is but one thing to do when this lying suggestion presents itself, and that is to know its utter unreality. The Master said that those who kept his sayings should never see death; and Mrs. Eddy tells us that death cannot present itself to one who is ever conscious of Life.
Time is far too precious to waste in dwelling upon the unreal activities of the carnal mind. Through the instructions given in the Christian Science textbook mortals are provided with wholesome mental occupation, striving to realize and demonstrate their own true selves ‒ their sonship with God. As the student of Christian Science begins earnestly and sincerely to prove his divine sonship, he commences to experience in ever increasing degree the blessings promised to such seekers.
Our one object in life is to identify ourselves with divine Life. The reward for doing this is great and is eloquently summed up by Mrs. Eddy (Pulpit and Press, p. 4): "Reflect this Life, and with it cometh the full power of being."
The success of Christian Science practice in dealing with human ills, frequently when material systems and remedies are powerless to help, is due to the fact that Christian Science deals primarily with the mental cause, instead of effects. Material methods are unscientific, because they deal wholly with effects and are not capable of dealing with mental causation. It does not matter how skillful one might be in cutting off the leaves of some noxious weed, if one failed to pull up the roots. To illustrate: let us suppose one was suffering from a physical disorder caused by anger. In such a case it would be of no avail to massage or medicate the body, for it is manifest that only that which could remove the cause, anger, could produce any permanent recovery.
An eminent medical authority is quoted as saying in regard to one of the so-called incurable diseases, that he never knew a case of it to develop which was not preceded by a strong emotional upheaval of some sort. Here again it is manifest that it is the emotional disorder that requires primary attention.
Now I am quite aware that this teaching as to the cause and cure of disease is not accepted by the carnal mind, which ever seeks to mislead mortals and thus to prevent escape, even as the tyrants of Egypt held the children of Israel in captivity. This carnal mind, which Jesus declared is a liar and the father of it, insists that disease is caused by varying phases of materiality and that consequently only matter can restore harmony. The fallacy of this theory may be illustrated by the following experience of a friend. This friend became afflicted with a very serious stomach disorder and adopted the usual material methods which promised relief. After a prolonged trial, receiving no help, he was induced to try Christian Science. In analyzing his case the practitioner learned that he was given to fits of anger and of irritability; this, in his case evidently, caused the stomach trouble. When through the help of Christian Science this friend learned how to overcome these errors and to think correctly his stomach trouble disappeared. Now it is quite clear that he might have journeyed throughout the world seeking without avail a medicine which would have cured anger or a plaster which would have extracted irritability.
It is high time to arouse ourselves ‒ high time to assert our spiritual sonship and dominion. Through the revelation of Christian Science the Satanic claim of a carnal mind which attributes to an omnipresent God of love its hideous program of sin, disease, and death, is proved to be absolutely false.
Christian Science shows the unreality of all the so-called laws of the carnal mind; take, for instance, the so-called law of heredity. How we have been mesmerized by this illusion! How we have feared it; trembled before it, and yielded in abject submission to an unholy and unnecessary doom! Yet, our guidebook to eternal Life has been telling us all the time that this supposed law is null and void. The eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel says in the second and third verses, "What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel."
Have we accepted the belief that normal life is limited to three score years and ten? Then we have the blessed privilege of repudiating tonight this lying claim, and of rejoicing that, through the understanding given us by Christian Science, we have the ability to annihilate the claims of old age, decrepitude, and death, thus to establish the fact that we are indeed the sons of God.
Man believing himself to be a mortal, born but to die, is dwelling in the house of bondage; but when, through the teaching of Christian Science, he is informed that in truth he is the son of God, he is in a position to begin the work of ceasing to be a mortal. This he does through the realization that he is a spiritual being, and this realization causes the dream of mortality to disappear.
When the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science gave to the world her wonderful book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," in the year 1875, it was immediately bombarded by the materialists. It was said to be absurd, illogical ‒ the work of the devil. Later, when all of this had been disproved and the book had become a power in religious, medical, and scientific circles, the attack shifted to Mrs. Eddy herself. It was declared that she was not the author, and many false statements as to her life and character were sent forth, in the vain hope of discrediting the Cause of Christian Science. Many arguments and speculations were advanced concerning unimportant historical data, all having the same objective ‒ that of discrediting Mrs. Eddy and her discovery.
Mrs. Eddy, however, with calm courage, based upon a spiritual understanding of God, pressed bravely on, and, like Paul, might have declared, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Now we can affirm with gratitude that Mrs. Eddy's accomplishment is firmly established from every point ‒ legal, scientific, and literary.
The leavening power of Christian Science is shown by the changed attitude of the world's leading thinkers. When Mrs. Eddy announced to a world submerged in the belief of material existence her epoch-making statement, "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation" (Science and Health, p. 468), it was declared by the materialists that it could not be proved. This attitude has undergone a complete change.
For instance, in the year 1909, a subscriber to a New York newspaper wrote its editor asking the question, Whom do you consider the 10 greatest living Americans? The answer came in substance: "If I were to compile such a list it would be headed by Mary Baker Eddy; for what she has accomplished is nothing short of the miraculous. She threw down the gage to the three leading sciences most inveterate in human dogma. Her teachings declare to the materialist, There is no matter. They declare to the medical scientist, Since sin, fear, or ignorance is the cause of disease, it is evident that only the exercise of the qualities of the divine Mind can be the remedy. They declare to the theologian, Your concept of salvation, based upon the letter of the Bible, dishonors every reasonable concept of Deity." That you will note, was in the year 1909. Today you are all familiar with the nation-wide poll, conducted, by The Ladies' Home Journal for the National Council of Women, to ascertain the names of the 12 women who had contributed most largely to American progress in the last century. You are also doubtless aware that Mary Baker Eddy heads this list, with thousands of votes to spare.
Leading thinkers in natural science are rapidly changing their viewpoints and are now favoring a metaphysical basis, in place of a material basis, as a premise from which may be deduced the facts concerning the universe. As an example of this, one of the foremost electrical engineers of the world declared: "I think the greatest discovery will be made along spiritual lines. Here is a force which history clearly teaches has been the greatest power in the development of man and history. Some day people will learn that material things do not bring happiness and are of little use in making men and women creative and powerful. Then the scientists of the world will turn their laboratories over to the study of God and prayer and the spiritual forces which as yet have hardly been guessed at. When that day comes the world will see more advancement in one generation than it has seen in the past four" (Christian Science Sentinel, Vol. XXXII, No. 40, p. 798).
The "greatest discovery" prophesied by this electrical genius was already here, long before his words were spoken, ‒ the discovery by Mary Baker Eddy of the divine Principle underlying the works of Jesus, in other words, Christian Science. She not only discovered this great spiritual truth, but gave it to the world, and she established the art of Christian Science, or, to use the definition of the word "art," the "employment" of spiritual "means" which all may utilize and prove.
Occasionally one hears the remark Christian Science is difficult to understand: the speaker will state that he has tried many times to understand it, but for some reason he does not get it. This attitude of mind is usually the result of a misconception of the nature of this Science. A few minutes ago I quoted from Mrs. Eddy as follows: "We reach the Science of Christianity through the demonstration of the divine nature." That is not difficult to understand, is it? Christian Science is not made up of metaphysical subtleties, but is the simple, practical truth taught by Christ Jesus, utilized in daily life. It is not difficult to understand that since anger, hate, and revenge react unfavorably on the body, that the exercise of the opposite divine qualities would restore harmony. Any sincere person may demonstrate this, thus proving in ever-increasing degree that "all things work together for good to them that love God."
Mrs. Eddy conferred a great blessing upon mankind when she taught and proved that the qualities of the divine Mind are never discordant. Now the correlative of this is, that the qualities of the carnal mind can be discordant and therefore produce mortal conditions. In the divine Mind there is no sin, decrepitude, disease, nor death; no accidents; no lack, loss, or limitation; no grief or sorrow. Here we have a profound statement of the entire case; and yet it is so simple that a child can readily understand. Is it not self-evident that since there can be no discord in the divine, mental qualities, in the proportion that we express this Mind we shall progressively be protected from mortal troubles? Each experience will convince us that when we shall express only the qualities of the divine Mind all the time, then we shall be well all the time.
If one desires to prove the truth of these statements nothing can hinder; nothing can prevent one from entering the path which leads to eternal life. One desirous of gaining a practical, demonstrable knowledge of Christian Science will necessarily require its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. In this book are simple rules which will permit the student to prove the propositions enumerated there. Such students will also find the Sunday services held in the Christian Science church of great value, as they set forth and elucidate the true, or spiritual, meaning of the Bible. The Wednesday evening testimony meetings are a source of hope, courage and inspiration. At these meetings solutions of every conceivable kind of human problems are related, giving the hearers conviction that Christian Science is a religion of proof, a religion which enables its followers to enjoy the blessings promised the righteous, here and, now.
In this lecture I have endeavored to show you something of what Christian Science is; what it promises; how it works; and I have pointed out the method of utilizing it. As our leader, Mrs. Eddy, says (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 160), "To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science."
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, April 26, 1935.]